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If you are a small business owner who wants to earn a generous amount of rewards to use toward future travel, there are several ways to go about doing so. While signing up for a business credit card that offers a large introductory bonus and rewards on every purchase may seem like the obvious answer, you can also earn additional points, miles or cash back by adding authorized users, referring friends to credit cards and enrolling in travel loyalty programs.
Here are our top suggestions for earning more rewards when you book business travel:
- Get a card with a generous sign-up bonus
- Earn rewards on travel bookings
- Add employee credit cards
- Refer other business owners
- Join an airline loyalty program
Get a card with a generous sign-up bonus
Perhaps the best way to earn a large influx of rewards in a short period of time is to apply for a credit card with a hefty sign-up bonus, like the Ink Business Preferred℠ Credit Card.
Earn 100,000 bonus points after you spend $15,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening.
Earn 3 points per $1 on the first $150,000 spent in combined purchases on travel, shipping purchases, Internet, cable and phone services, advertising purchases made with social media sites and search engines each account anniversary year. Earn 1 point per $1 on all other purchases—with no limit to the amount you can earn.
Points are worth 25% more when you redeem for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards
- Earn 100k bonus points after you spend $15,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,000 cash back or $1,250 toward travel when redeemed through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
- Earn 3 points per $1 on the first $150,000 spent on travel and select business categories each account anniversary year. Earn 1 point per $1 on all other purchases
- With Fraud Protection your card transactions will be monitored for possible signs of fraudulent activity using real-time fraud monitoring
- With Zero Liability you won't be held responsible for unauthorized charges made with your card or account information
- Redeem points for cash back, gift cards, travel and more - your points don't expire as long as your account is open
- Points are worth 25% more when you redeem for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
- Purchase Protection covers your new purchases for 120 days against damage or theft up to $10,000 per claim and $50,000 per account
- $95 Annual Fee
See additional details for Ink Business Preferred℠ Credit Card
The Ink Business Preferred℠ Credit Card currently offers the following sign-up bonus: Earn 100,000 bonus points after you spend $15,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That’s worth $1,250 when redeemed for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.
Keep in mind that when evaluating the size and value of a card’s sign-up bonus, it’s also important to take into account the card’s annual fee. For example, the Ink Business Preferred℠ Credit Card charges an annual fee of $95, which essentially drops the value of the sign-up bonus to $1,155 during the first year of card membership. Even with the annual fee, however, the sign-up bonus is still a very lucrative offer.
Additionally, the Ink Business Preferred℠ Credit Card offers the following rewards rate: Earn 3 points per $1 on the first $150,000 spent in combined purchases on travel, shipping purchases, Internet, cable and phone services, advertising purchases made with social media sites and search engines each account anniversary year. Earn 1 point per $1 on all other purchases—with no limit to the amount you can earn.
Along with travel, Ultimate Rewards points can be redeemed for cash back, gift cards and merchandise through the Apple Ultimate Rewards Store. You can also transfer points at a 1:1 rate to a number of travel transfer partners, including British Airways Executive Club, JetBlue TrueBlue, Southwest Airlines Rapid Rewards and Marriott Bonvoy.
Earn rewards on travel bookings
While there are business credit cards available that offer a flat rewards rate on every purchase, such as the Capital One Spark Cash for Business, which gives 2% cash back for your business on every purchase, everywhere, some cards allow you to earn an elevated rewards rate on travel expenses.
For instance, The Business Platinum Card® from American Express offers 5X Membership Rewards® points on flights and prepaid hotels on amextravel.com. Get 50% more Membership Rewards® points. That's an extra half point per dollar, on each eligible purchase of $5,000 or more.
Earn 120,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $15,000 on eligible purchases with your Card within the first 3 months of Card Membership.
Complimentary access to over 1000+ airport lounges*
Get 50% more Membership Rewards® points. That's 1.5 points per dollar, on each eligible purchase of $5,000 or more*
- Welcome Offer: Earn 120,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $15,000 on eligible purchases with your Card within the first 3 months of Card Membership.
- Plus, 0% Intro APR for 12 months from the date of the account opening on purchases eligible for Pay Over Time. After that, your APR will be 14.24% to 22.24% based on your credit worthiness and other factors as determined at the time of account opening.
- Get 5X Membership Rewards® points on flights and prepaid hotels on amextravel.com.
- Earn 1.5X Membership Rewards® points on eligible purchases in key business categories, as well as on purchases of $5,000 or more everywhere else. Cap applies.
- Unlock over $1,000 in value per year for statement credits on select purchases with your Card, including up to $400 with Dell Technologies, up to $360 with Indeed, up to $150 with Adobe and up to $120 on wireless telephone purchases. Enrollment required.
- $200 Airline Fee Credit: Get up to $200 in statement credits per calendar year toward baggage fees and more at one qualifying airline.
- $179 CLEAR® Credit: Use your Card and get up to $179 back per year on your CLEAR® membership.
- Access to more than 1,300 airport lounges across 140 countries and counting with The American Express Global Lounge Collection®. More lounge options than any other credit card on the market as of 8/2020.
- $595 Annual Fee ($695 if application is received on or after 01/13/2022).
- Terms Apply.
- See Rates & Fees
See additional details for The Business Platinum Card® from American Express
Additionally, when you use Membership Rewards Pay with Points for all or part of an eligible fare, you’ll receive 35% of those points back — up to 500,000 points back per year.
Just know that the following travel purchases do not qualify for the elevated rewards rate: non-prepaid hotel bookings, car rentals, cruises, hotel group reservations or events. Also, because The Business Platinum Card® from American Express comes with a number of premium benefits, such as an annual $200 airline credit and $200 Dell credit (enrollment required), it also comes with an expensive annual fee of $595 (10/14-1/12/22).
To see rates & fees for The Business Platinum Card® from American Express please click here.
Add employee cards
Business credit cards typically allow you to add employees as authorized users at no extra cost. The primary cardholder will earn rewards when those authorized users make purchases using their card.
That said, as the primary account holder, you have full financial responsibility if the authorized user defaults on their account.
Refer other business owners
Some issuers offer referral bonuses when you invite friends to apply for the card, and the friends are approved for that card. For example, the Southwest Rapid Rewards® Performance Business Credit Card offers card members 20,000 bonus points for each referral who is approved for any Southwest Rapid Rewards credit card — up to five referrals per year, for a total of 100,000 bonus points.
Earn 80,000 points after you spend $5,000 on purchases in the first 3 months.
3 points per $1 spent on Southwest® purchases. 2 points per $1 spent on social media and search engine advertising, Internet, cable, and phone services. 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases.
9,000 bonus points after your Cardmember anniversary
- Earn 80,000 points after you spend $5,000 on purchases in the first 3 months.
- 9,000 bonus points after your Cardmember anniversary.
- 3 points per $1 spent on Southwest Airlines® purchases.
- 2 points per $1 spent on social media and search engine advertising, Internet, cable, and phone services and 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases.
- 4 Upgraded Boardings per year when available.
- Inflight WiFi Credits.
- Global Entry or TSA Pre✓® Fee Credit.
- Employee cards at no additional cost, earn points on employee spending.
See additional details for Southwest Rapid Rewards® Performance Business Credit Card
Join an airline loyalty program
If your business requires frequent travel, there are several airlines that offer loyalty programs designed for companies:
American Airlines Business Extra. The Business Extra program allows both the business and the employee to earn rewards on air travel. Upon enrollment, companies earn 1 point per every $5 spent on flights on American Airlines, British Airways and Iberia Airlines, as well as codeshare flights on Finnair, Qantas and Japan Airlines, which can be used toward flights, upgrades, AAdvantage Gold status and Admirals Club membership or one-day passes. Employees traveling on these flights also earn their individual AAdvantage miles.
There is no fee or minimum spend required to join Business Extra.
Delta SkyBonus. The Delta SkyBonus program lets companies that spend less than $50,000 a year on travel earn 50 points for every $1,000 a company spends on eligible tickets and upgrades with Delta Air Lines, Air France, KLM Royal Dutch Airlines, Alitalia, Aeromexico and Virgin Atlantic, as well as participating codeshare partner airlines. Points can be redeemed for flight certificates, upgrades, Delta Sky Club passes and more.
Like American Airlines’ Business Extra program, Delta SkyBonus requires enrollment and is free to use.
United PerksPlus. With the United PerksPlus program, small- and mid-sized companies based in the U.S. and Canada can earn between 1 and 6 points per dollar, depending on the fare type, fare class and other factors, for business travel on United Airlines, United Express, All Nippon Airways, Austrian Airlines, Brussels Airlines, Lufthansa and Swiss International Air Lines. Customers in Latin America and the Caribbean can earn up to 12 points per dollar spent on eligible flights.
Points can be redeemed for United MileagePlus Premier Gold or Silver status, which comes with a variety of benefits, including bonus award miles on United flights, free access to Economy Plus seating when available, Premier Access priority services and complimentary Premier upgrades.
This program is complimentary, and enrollment is required.
Which option is best?
If you’re looking to earn a large sum of rewards in a short period of time, a business credit card may be the best option. Just beware that the card may require a high spend threshold to earn the sign-up bonus, as well as a pricey annual fee.
Additionally, while the Delta SkyBonus and United PerksPlus programs are free to join, they each have minimum spend requirements to remain active in the program. The Delta SkyBonus program requires companies to spend a minimum of $5,000 per year in eligible flight revenue and have at least five unique employee travelers each calendar year, while the United PerksPlus program requires a minimum of $5,000 in eligible flight revenue in the first 12 months following enrollment.